Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, announced in-person services have resumed at local Social Security offices, howeveronline services and telephone remain the most convenient ways to contact the agency.
“I am pleased to announce that local Social Security offices will restore in-person services, including for people without an appointment, on April 7, 2022," said Kijakazi.
She continued, "To avoid waiting in line, I strongly encourage people, who can, to use our online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, call us, and schedule appointments in advance rather than walking in without an appointment. Phone appointments can save you a trip to a busy office. I thank the public for your patience as we work to increase service."
Customers who walk in without appointments may encounter delays and longer waits at our offices. Be aware that our offices tend to be the busiest first thing in the morning, early in the week, and during the early part of the month, so people may want to plan to visit at other times.
"Given that many of the people we serve have health vulnerabilities, and consistent with our union agreements, we are continuing to require certain safety measures including masking, physical distancing, and self-health checks for COVID-19 symptoms," Kijakazi said. "We will provide masks to the public and employees if they need them."
"Thoughtful planning and preparation have shaped our process to restore in-person services. Social Security employees are dedicated to serving the public, and we are ready to welcome the public back to our offices," Kijakazi said. "Our local managers understand and can address the needs of their communities. We have also implemented office-to-office support as well as brought recently retired employees back to assist the public. We thank the many interested stakeholders including the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living and national advocate organizations for your help."
Throughout the pandemic, millions of people have used our secure and convenient online services and received help by phone. People who have access to the internet should first try our online services before calling us or visiting an office.
"As we transition to a new modern phone system, some people may experience a busy signal or be unintentionally disconnected from their call," Kijakazi said. "We sincerely regret this disruption and recommend people call when our National 800 Number may be less busy, such as before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. local time or later in the week. Like our offices, our waits are generally shorter later in the month."
Most Social Security services are available to the public online at www.socialsecurity.gov and with a my Social Security account, or by telephone. And most Social Security services do not require the public to take time to visit an office. People may create their my Social Security account, a personalized online service, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
People who set up their my Social Security account have access to additional personalized services. They can request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.
People not yet receiving benefits can use their online account to get a personalized Social Security Statement, which provides their earnings information as well as estimates of their future benefits. The portal also includes a retirement calculator and links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.
Many Social Security services are also conveniently available by dialing toll-free, 1-800-772-1213. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call Social Security’s TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
Kylle' D. McKinney is a public affairs specialist for the Alabama Area Director’s Office of Social Security Administration
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: In-person services resumes at local Social Security offices